All Things Work for Good
with Chip Brogden
Whereas the Holy Spirit is instrumental in the increase of Christ, the Cross is instrumental in the decrease of Self. The whole trouble with man is his inherent tendency to travel a path that is independent of his Creator. This is why the Cross must do a very deep, thorough work in every disciple of Jesus. As Self is submitted to Christ, Sin begins to lose its power of attraction, and Satan has no more leverage.
The night He was betrayed, Jesus told His disciples, “The prince of this world comes, and has nothing in Me.” That is to say, there was nothing in the Lord Jesus that the devil could use to get an advantage over Him. This is the condition He desires for each of His disciples, and at the Cross is the means through which that condition is arrived.
Joseph is a striking example of this spiritual principle. As a young man he was very gifted and he had visions and dreams of a promising future. But like most gifted young people, Joseph was immature and had some issues with pride. So God permitted Joseph to go through many things that humbled him and decreased him and reduced him. Being sold into slavery by your brothers is pretty humiliating. Doing the right thing, and then getting falsely accused of doing the wrong thing and going to prison for it, is pretty demeaning as well — and discouraging.
But through these experiences, God transformed Joseph into a new man, one who was humble and submitted to the will of the Lord. Finally he came face-to-face with his brothers again. How would you react? Joseph did not behave the way we would expect. He said: “Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that you sold me here: for God did send me before you to preserve life … You thought evil against me; but God meant it for good” (Gen. 45:5; 50:20a).
And that is the work of the Cross: to be able to see that God is working all things together for good. Even the things that we would not choose! Even the things that we do not like to go through! Even the things that we do not want to experience! Even the evil things that other people do to us! All of these things God can use for our good if we will embrace them and accept them and understand the reason why God permits them to come to us.
Everything we experience, whether it is evil or whether it is good; whether it is something we have not chosen or something that we have chosen; whether it is something we like or something we do not like; all things are working together to increase Christ and decrease us.
When we allow the Holy Spirit to increase Christ, and when we allow the Cross to do its work of decreasing Self, the fruit will come forth in abundance. This makes everything we experience worthwhile.
Chip was born and raised in North Carolina and currently lives and writes in upstate New York with his wife, Karla. Connect with his blog and share your thoughts at www.ChipBrogden.com